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Champaign County, Illinois


Black Hawk War - "At the time hostilities were begun by Black Hawk and his misguided followers, Champaign county had not been created. A company of mounted Rangers consisting all told of 120 men, was raised in Vermilion county, of which this portion of country formed a part. Six of this company, however, were from Indiana. Jesse B. Brown was Captain. The 1st Lieutenant was James Clymer, the 2nd was Fry, the 3rd was McDonald. The company Surgeon was McDougal. John B. Thomas was Hospital Steward. Geo. Scaberry was Orderly Sergeant of his company. The 2nd Sergeant was Marcus Snow, the 3rd was Geo. W. Ware. Some of Corporals were Payne, Milligan, Welch. The bugler's name was also Welch. Some of the members in addition to those named were Elias Stamey, Jacob Heater, Walter Rhodes, Martin Rhinehardt, Thomas Richards, Wm. S. Coe, Rev. Mr. Mahurin, Thomas LeButler, Jesse B. Wright, Jefferson Smith, Jefferson Homer, James Thompson. Many of these belonged to what was called the "Attached Part of Vermilion."

"The headquarters of Gen. Prince, the recruiting officer for the rangers, was at Danville, and that place was the rendezvous. Each man was required to provide his own horse and clothing. Arms and rations for the troops were supplied by the government. The men were required, however, to furnish food for their horses. No uniform was required, and each wore the kind of clothing that suited his fancy. The arms issued to them were, a rifle-gun, two horse-pistols that were carried in holsters, and a sword. The term of enlistment was one year.

"This company arrived too late at the scene of disturbance to participate in any battle, but suffered many hardships and endured many privations. They drew as rations flour and meat, and very rarely sugar and coffee were issued. Occasionally, Captain Brown treated the company, after a fatiguing march, to whiskey. On one occasion at close of parade, Gen. Winfield Scott, their general in command, pleased with their great proficiency in drill, treated each man to a glass of grog.

"After having been formally mustered into service. Capt. Brown's company was ordered to Chicago, and from thence, without rest, their march continued to Rock Island. The fighting was over, and the fierce Black Hawk had been sent as a prisoner to Washington. His son, then about twenty years of age, handsome and intelligent, acted as interpreter between the authorities and his tribe. He lived with the troops during the greater part of three months, and was a favorite with all.

"The duty assigned Capt. Brown's company, for that so far as can be learned was its only designation, jointly with other troops was to superintend the removal of the defeated Indians across the Mississippi river and prevent their return. During their tour, that terrible scourge, the Asiatic Cholera, attached the troops and eleven men of the company died. Lieut. Clymer was seized with it, but recovered.

"They were eventually mustered out at Dodgeville, Wisconsin, at the expiration of their term of service.

Civil War - "When the tocsin of war was heard in the dark days, the sons of Champaign county crowded forward to offer their swords to the national government. There is no page of her history so brilliant as that which is glorified by the record of their deeds. The lawyer left his office, the artisan his shop, the physician his practice, the minister the sacred desk, the farmer the plow, and marched away 'neath flaunting banners, to the stirring martial music, in defense of the grand principle of nationality. Many of them greatly distinguished themselves. Six of them rode gallantly at the head of regiments as their colonels. So far as can be gathered, 127 wore straps upon the shoulder. The greater portion, however, served as non-commissioned officers or privates in that grand army which went sadly forth against their brethren in defense of their country. Very many of them never returned. Their country demanded the sacrifice, and for her they laid down with joy their lives. Champaign county has reason to be proud of the conduct of her sons in the day and hour of danger. They stood with Grant at Appomattox, and marched with Sherman to the sea. Wherever duty called they were found."

From History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations, 1878.

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